Sealing Your Home: Five Tips to Help You Find Air Leaks

Have you noticed a sharp increase in your power bill recently, but your home still isn’t staying warm?
Sealing your home is one of the most cost-effective ways to decrease your home’s energy consumption. Air leaks allow warm air to escape from your home, while at the same time ushering in cool air. This also explains the cold draft constantly plaguing your home.
Air leaks can occur in a variety of places, including chimney chases, plumbing chases, dropped ceilings and electrical fixtures. In the majority of homes, the most common air leaks occur in attics and basements. These leaks can be difficult to locate on your own because they are often hidden in the insulation. You should contact a professional if you have difficulty locating the source of a leak.
Here are a few tips to help you identify potential problems:
  • Inspect your attic for dirty insulation: Dirty batt insulation is a good indicator of air movement and that your attic needs to be better sealed. While inspecting your attic take extreme caution not to disturb any vermiculite insulation, because it may be made with asbestos. If you come across this kind of insulation, it is best to contact a professional immediately before continuing to do anything yourself. 
  • Check for gaps around pipes that go through outside walls: Pipes that go through exterior walls can be another source of air leaks. You should check for gaps around these pipes, and fill these spaces in with insulation.
  • Seal gaps in the framing around windows and doors: Gaps in the framing around windows and doors are another common source of energy loss. This can be done by removing the moldings around the window frames and doorframes, and then filling the gaps with insulation.
  • Seal and insulate outlets and switches:  To prevent air from flowing through outlets and switches, you should remove the plate coverings and apply foam sealers that you can purchase at your local hardware store.
  • Check your basement for cracks: Basement cracks are a major source of air leaks. It is important to examine your basement for cracks along floors and walls. To seal smaller cracks that are less than ¼-inch wide, you should use acrylic latex caulk. Spray foam insulation used by professionals works well for larger cracks and gaps.
While it is possible for some people to seal their home themselves, it is always best to consult a professional first especially when using spray foam insulation as a solution. If you create a seal that is too tight, it can lead to a number of other problems that may create health hazards for you and your family.
Whitmire Custom Homes has over 30 years of experience in the home building industry. We are experts at creating beautiful and efficient green homes for your family to enjoy for many years. Feel free to contact us for more information today!